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Asus VivoBook S15 Review

The Asus VivoBook S15 is a real eye-catcher, and its speakers stand out for a product that costs just $699. However, VivoBook S15 offers average performance from its Intel Core i5-10210U processor, below-average battery life, a dull and dimmed 15.6-inch display, and a mid-range keyboard. However, the performance and battery life aren’t bad enough to recommend not using this product, but they’re subtle compared to the competition. This is our Asus VivoBook S15 Review.

Specifications

Asus VivoBook S15 Specs
Price:$699
CPU:Intel Core i5-10210U
RAM:8GB
Storage:512GB SSD
Display:15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080
GPU:Intel UHD Graphics
VRAMN/A
Battery life:8 hours and 23 minutes
Size: 14.1 x 9.2 x 0.6-inches
Weight: 4-pounds

Asus VivoBook S15 Review: Design

Last updated on October 24, 2020 10:55 pm

One thing I like about Asus laptops is their affinity with color. The VivoBook S15 that I got is equipped with what is called Asus Gaia Green. The aluminum lid looks like it’s dipped in a dark emerald ocean, leaving the first-class print on an otherwise durable chassis. On the right side of the lid is a VivoBook logo; I would have preferred some symbol to the types to keep the premium look.

Asus VivoBook S15 Review

Conversely, the interior of the device is silver, which compensates Gaia Green nicely. What first struck me was the yellow border around the Enter key and the fingerprint sensor in the touchpad. My colleague Phillip Tracy, who has never seen this laptop before, would have immediately noticed the on/off button in the keyboard, which he rightly hates. Meanwhile, the display attracts narrow side bezels, but the top edge can use a decorative strip.

For a mainstream category laptop, the VivoBook S15 has a substantial variety and number of ports at its disposal. On the left side, you will find the power connector, an HDMI port, a USB Type-A port, a USB Type-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. On the right side, there are two additional USB Type-A ports and a microSD card slot.

Weighing in at 4 pounds, 14.1 x 9.2 x 0.6 inches, the VivoBook is a great size for a 15-inch laptop. It’s heavier than its 14-inch competitors, however, it’s as thin as the Acer Swift 3 (2020, AMD’s Ryzen 7 4700U) (2.7-pounds, 12.7 x 8.6 x 0.6-inches), the Lenovo Yoga C740 (3-pounds, 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.6 ~ 0.7-inches) and the Asus ZenBook 14 UX431F (3.3-pounds, 12.7 x 8.3 x 0.6-inches).

Keyboard and TouchPad

I didn’t enjoy the typing session on the VivoBook S15 because of the shallow keys and the seemingly fragile keyboard deck. Every time I pressed a key, I watched the rest of the deck, and the keys bend around it. People who tend to type more powerfully might find this uncomfortable. The keys sometimes felt mushy and generally unsatisfying to type on, but not downright painful. To top it all off, the keys are badly backlit. You can see dark spots in the letters of the keys as if the LEDs underneath don’t illuminate them all correctly.

Asus VivoBook S15 Review

With the 4.7 x 2.8 inch touchpad, I couldn’t vibe because it gave sticky feedback every time I tried to use it. It didn’t help that the fingerprint sensor was in the touchpad. However, Windows 10 gestures such as three-finger scrolling and two-finger tabbing worked excellent thanks to the Windows Precision drivers.

Asus VivoBook S15 Review: Display

The VivoBook S15 looks much more beautiful than it is, but its low price can be seen in its incredibly dull and dim 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 display. In the trailer for Ava, the red lips of the titular character fell flat on the VivoBook S15’s screen, where they would otherwise have popped and excited the viewer. When a fight scene occurred in a poorly lit room, I couldn’t see a single detail on half the screen because the panel was so dark.

However, the screen was sharp and showed every lock of hair on Jessica Chastain’s head. According to our colorimeter, the VivoBook S15’s display covered a drizzly 63% of the sRGB color gamut and tumbled down before it could get close to the average of the 94% mainstream laptop. He managed to climb just over the Swift 3 (62%) but couldn’t touch the Yoga C740 (111%) or the ZenBook 14 (104%).

With 248 nits, the VivoBook S15’s screen was not only weaker than the category average (311 nits) but also the rest of the race. The Swift 3, Yoga C740, and ZenBook 14 radiated 251 nits, 250 nits, and 288 nits, respectively.

Asus VivoBook S15 Review: Audio

Surprisingly, the lower Harman Kardon speakers are one of the best features this laptop has to offer. The opening to Nano’s “Kemurikusa” popped with energetic vocals followed by deep bass effects. When the electric guitars took over, they sounded clear but didn’t completely overshadow the bass guitar. Even the percussion had a solid oomph to support the guitar and vocals. During the chorus, each of the instruments harmonized without washing each other out thoroughly.

Asus backs up his audio with AudioWizard, which offers a lot of options to adjust bass, treble, and a full equalizer. The numbered band settings represent points on the equalizer, and by selecting them, it will be recorded in the wave, which will bend the sound to that point.

There are preset equalizer options such as Low Shelf or High Shelf, where the former dim the sound, and the latter enhances the audio; these settings can be assigned to any band. The included software is probably one of the best that consists of an equalizer, only because it has software mechanics to tune it without being an audiophile.

Asus VivoBook S15 Review: Performance

Under the thin cover of VivoBook S15 is an Intel Core i5-10210U processor with 8GB of RAM that juggled 40 Google Chrome tabs and five 1080p YouTube videos without any problems. However, the benchmarks don’t paint VivoBook S15 in the best light. In the Geekbench 4.3 overall performance test, the VivoBook S15 scored 14,152, outperforming the average of 14,940 typical laptops. With the same CPU, the Yoga C740 (15.590) and ZenBook 14 (15.309) did much better, while the AMD Ryzen 7 4700U of the Swift 3 excelled with a score of 19.163.

Asus VivoBook S15 Review

The VivoBook S15 transcoded a 4K video to 1080p on our HandBrake benchmark in 17 minutes and 22 seconds, beating the 21:27 category average and Yoga C740’s time (20:42). However, things didn’t go well against Swift 3 (11:00) and ZenBook 14 (12:32).

Asus’ 512GB SSD copied 4.97GB of data in 12.48 seconds, which translates to 408 megabytes per second, slightly faster than the average mainstream laptop (374 MBps). With an SSD of 512GB, the Yoga C740 (848MBps) and ZenBook 14 (458MBps) were faster.

Packaged with standard Intel UHD Graphics, the VivoBook S15 managed 37 frames per second on the Dirt 3 benchmark (Medium, 1080p), which is considered playable but lags behind the average 54-fps mainstream laptop. It outperformed the Intel UHD Graphics in the Yoga C740 (31fps) and ZenBook 14 (27fps) but was unable to overcome the discreet AMD Radeon Graphics in the Swift 3 (79fps).

On the Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm benchmark (Medium, 1080p), the VivoBook S15 hit a drizzly 11 fps, below the 15 fps average. The Yoga C740 and ZenBook 14 hit 8 fps. All these numbers make the game unplayable, but the Swift 3 scored 27 fps close to the 30 fps playability limit.

Asus VivoBook S15 Review: Battery Life

The battery life of the Asus VivoBook S15 is not bad, but it feels mediocre compared to the competition. After the VivoBook S15 surfed the web continuously over Wi-Fi with 150 nits of brightness, the battery collapsed by 8 hours and 23 minutes, which is almost 1 hour shorter than the average of the 9:21 category. The Swift 3 (11:09), Lenovo Yoga C740 (10:18), and the Asus ZenBook 14 (9:27) lasted hours longer than the VivoBook.

Asus VivoBook S15 Review: Heat

The VivoBook S15 did not get too hot under pressure. After 15 minutes of streaming a 1080p YouTube video, the underside hit 95 degrees Fahrenheit, which corresponds to our comfort threshold. The center of the keyboard and touchpad measures only 92 and 84 degrees, respectively. The hottest the machine got was 102 degrees on the bottom left above the vents. However, the device never felt more than warm in my hands.

Price and Configuration Options

Asus VivoBook S15 Review

I tested the $699 Asus VivoBook S15, which comes with an Intel Core i5-10210U processor, 8GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD, in a Gaia Green color. There are three other models, but the only thing different are the colors: Resolute red, Indie black and dreamy white. If you’re looking for something more affordable, consider checking out our best laptops under $500 or the best laptops under $300 lists.

Asus VivoBook S15 Review: Conclusion

Asus VivoBook S15 (S533F) presents a stylish design that includes a pair of well-rounded speakers, but great looks and sound only go so far. The performance and battery life were subversive compared to the average mainstream laptop. Meanwhile, it has a dull 15.6-inch display and an ordinary keyboard. For just $100 more, consider the Asus ZenBook 14 UX431F, which offers better performance, longer battery life, and a much more colorful display.

If you’re looking for a mainstream 15-inch laptop, the VivoBook S15 isn’t bad, but you can get something much better for a comparable price.

6.5 Total Score
Our Verdict

The Asus VivoBook S15 has a stylish design and well-rounded speakers, but that doesn't save it on average performance, dull display, and average battery life.

PROS
  • Premium aesthetics
  • Well-rounded audio
CONS
  • Middling performance
  • Dim and dull display
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